Wal-Mart Benefits Local Farmers and Suppliers
Wal-Mart often gets criticized for driving small, downtown merchants out of business, who find it hard to compete against the giant retailer's "everyday low prices," although it would be more accurate to blame "greedy consumers" for the fate of the high-priced, downtown merchants. As I wrote in 2002, "Wal-Mart can't force people to shop at its stores; all it can do is offer a low-priced alternative to the high-priced downtown merchants. "Greedy" consumers do the rest."
Here's a new story from NPR "Wal-Mart Helps Small Farms Supply 'Local' Foods," that explains how "The company wants to revitalize small and midsize farms in the U.S. and has begun a program to increase the amount of local produce sold in Walmart stores. The program also benefits consumers, who have access to fresher food, as well as Wal-Mart itself."
Wal-Mart is now working with about 350 small farmers as part of its Heritage Agriculture program, and this is just one example of how small local businesses can actually benefit from a local Wal-Mart. Here's another example: "Wal-Mart purchased $269 million in products from 316 suppliers located throughout Idaho in 2009."